@LostThePlot said in another thread that a complex character cannot be a stereotype. This is a very interesting statement, one I both agree with and think can easily be misused, and rather than derail the initial thread, I wanted to fully discuss it in another one. To begin with, I want to give a personal example to show where I agree with LostThePlot. I have one character, a college student studying filmmaking, who has an evil spirit living in her head that feeds off her fear. She can't prove this to anyone else, and the spirit itself contributes to her fear that others will think she's crazy, so she spends most of her time alone and doesn't really know how to talk to other people. The spirit is intimidated by older and larger spirits, so old-growth tree groves are among the few places where she's relatively safe from its manipulations. In her attempts to figure out what this thing is, she's studied and combined a wide variety of mystical traditions, trying anything that might provide her some relief. She also falls in love with both the boy who wants to help her and the mysterious girl who keeps appearing in her dreams, which is partly plot convenience on my part. String it all together, and you've got a young bisexual eclectic pagan girl who's shy and loves nature, which is really, really stereotypical. But I don't think she's a bad character, and there isn't anything I want to change about her. She's a person who mostly has reasons for the way she acts, and the things that don't have a reason at least add up to cute romantic scenes. But representation is about more than stereotypes, and in order to explain what I mean by that, I need to bash on the video game Persona 4. Almost every character arc in the game follows a specific pattern: character's desires are suppressed by society -> character lashes out to a greater or lesser degree -> character learns to understand those desires and accepts that they have them -> character puts away those desires and is happy with their social role. On their own, most of those arcs are remarkably well-written, easily some of the best writing I've ever seen in the JRPG genre. But put together in a single game, with the same message repeating over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over, it feels increasingly ham-fisted. I began to long for some acknowledgement that society isn't always right and suppressing your desires isn't always the best choice. Kanji, a macho punk who's heavily implied to be gay or bisexual, came as a relief because the writers couldn't completely box him in. It's one thing to acknowledge your desires and set them aside, but Kanji is afraid that even having his desires makes him a fraud and a false man, and it wouldn't make sense to have an ending where he stays in exactly the same place he was at the beginning. At the end of his arc, he proudly admits . . . that he likes knitting. (He still winds up paired with a girl who crossdresses, and the writers make sure to emphasize that she identifies as a girl, not a trans guy.) Honestly, Kanji is just the beginning of what I see as true diversity. He's a Fox News Liberal, a bone thrown to the other side of the argument to keep from having to give it any meat. To me, diversity isn't a checkbox or a token, and it's not necessarily about things like race or sex. It's about taking the tidy little picture you've painted of a harmonious world where everyone thinks like you do, then pulling on the frame so hard the picture itself expands and you can see all the chaos you shunted off to the side. It's about admitting that people exist who aren't like you, and that your message may not mean the same thing to them as it does to you, then showing that within your story with people who come from different backgrounds and are headed to different places. Thoughts? I'm not sure if I'm really expressing what I'm trying to say, or if I made a wrong turn somewhere.